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Hella Horstmeier
1990, Marble, Railroad ties


Where two paths cross, a crafted block of marble is mounted on two wooden railroad ties that intersect on a pedestal. This is the sculpture ”aufgehoben” (raised up), by the Berlin artist Hella Horstmeier.

Horstmeier was born in Wernigerode in the Harz Mountains. After moving to Berlin, she attended courses at the Academy of Arts in the late 1970s. Her first exhibit was held in 1983 in the Kunstlicht Gallery in Berlin. Since then, her works have regularly appeared in solo and collective public exhibitions in many European countries. She has participated in numerous international symposia and has been a member of the Association of Berlin Artists since 1995. In 2001 she won the ARAG Art Prize.

Most of Hella Horstmeier‘s abstract sculptures are composed of several components that are placed in relation to each other to create a dialog. This may be a dialog of materials, forms, or surfaces – or even variations in the style of fabrication, which often conclude in a dialog that crosses space and time: inside and outside, before and after. The way the materials are worked generates a dialog with the viewer as well. Her abstract works are inspirations for personal associations. Encounters between viewers and the sculptures produce dialogs between thoughts and language, ideas and human experiences.

aufgehoben on campus

In ”aufgehoben”, dark railroad ties from the S-Bahn combine with a bright marble block in an arrangement of color, form, permanence and the characteristics of the materials. It is a meeting of contrasts between dark and light, organic and inorganic materials. The hard marble is worked and rounded off; the railroad ties, which are comparatively softer, exhibit angles and corners. The more permanent block of stone is supported by wood that is decomposing in the weather, despite having been treated with preservatives. For Horstmeier, the temporal component of this sculpture is of high importance. She remarked, that it is ”interesting when external changes make an impact on the sculpture.”

”aufgehoben” is on long-term loan from the artist. Initially the sculpture stood in front of the campus library building; in 2019 it was moved to its present location.

You can find an interview with Hella Horstmeier here.